Do you believe in what you’re selling?
You might be wondering why the first tip on selling is a question and that’s because it matters. A LOT. Some people would argue that you don’t need to believe in what you sell to be successful. And they’re right. Some people might even go so far as to brag about how they could sell anything to any poor schmuck they want.
But I’ve got news for you. If you’re scared to sell, you are probably not one of ‘those’ salespeople. That’s a good thing. People who brag about selling other people things they don’t need or want are why salespeople are often regarded with such disdain. It’s also might be why you’re scared: you don’t want to be thought of that way. You might even have a particularly awful salesperson in mind that you encountered and your worst fear is being perceived like them.
I get it. I didn’t come from a household that held salespeople in high regard at all. So the first thing I had to get clear on when selling was whether I believed in the product and company I represented. Not because I didn’t still have days when I struggled to walk through doors after I got clear on my belief. But because I NEEDED to remind myself on those days and in those moments what I believed in and why I was walking through those terrifying doors, subjecting myself to rejection over and over.
Think of your belief in your product or company as your armor when you walk through those doors. Can you sell without your armor? Sure. But that armor is going to thwart the inevitable punches you’ll take, i.e. the no’s you’re bound to hear.
But Rosanna, you say, I’m reading this because I don’t want rejection. I hate when people say ‘no’ so I’m reading this to learn exactly what to say and do to never have to hear that awful word again. Right. About that.
I’m going to get into more detail about how a ‘No’ is the best opening you can get in a later post. In the meantime, you need to understand that a fear of hearing ‘no’ can be the biggest barrier to your sales success. Notice I didn’t say being told ‘no’ is the biggest barrier. It’s not. It’s the fear you have about rejection that keeps you from walking through doors, picking up the phone, or sending a message.
The good news is if you really want to become successful at sales, you’re going to hear a lot of no’s and the more you hear, the more you’ll get over the fear and, more importantly, the more you’ll hear ‘yes’. That may not sound reassuring and if you think it sounds like an incredibly uncomfortable process, it will be.
Fear is like a wound. Sensitive to any and all touch at first but slowly, it scabs over. And as the scab becomes harder, the wound is less and less sensitive. It’s less and less vulnerable to the elements. Eventually the scab settles into a scar that no longer hurts but is a visual reminder of the wound. Then one day you look down and the scar is so faint that you almost forget there was ever a wound at all.
Let’s get something clear right now. Even if you have the utmost belief in what you’re selling and you feel a fire in your belly to cold call 100 prospects when you finish reading this blog, you will still have rough days.
You will still have days where no one is available to answer your call, let alone reject you. You will have days when you’re pretty sure all of your prospects are avoiding you. You will have sales that are guaranteed to close fall through. It’s all part of the process. In the midst of that process, you’re going to have to remind yourself WHY your product or company is worth selling.
Don’t mistake me. This doesn’t mean you need an earth shatteringly profound reason to believe in the product.
My first sales job was actually when I was 8 or 9. I was a first-time girl scout and it was time to sell the iconic cookies. I didn’t know I was a salesperson. I just knew I loved cookies, the girl scout cookies were delicious, and adults seemed to like them as much as I did.
I’d be lying if I told you I remember whether our girl scout leader gave us an incentive to sell the cookies beforehand. What I DO remembers is that my group ended up going to an amusement park after selling season ended because of how many we sold and I was the number 2 salesperson.
Why? Because I LOVED the cookies, especially the ones formerly referred to as Samoas. I knew nothing about sales tactics or techniques. I was just a girl who loved cookies and had no problem asking people to buy them because I assumed everyone loved cookies as much as I did. Oh the simplicity of kids. I wish I operated that simply when I took my first sales job at 21 working in public relations for a life insurance company.
Actually, for my first couple of days in the field by myself, I did operate that simply and I had great success. But when rebuttals started coming in that I wasn’t ready for, I got more and more dejected about what I was doing and how I could continue.
I wasn’t prepared for the disdain that people seemed to hold life insurance companies in and I began to take the snide remarks and dismissive attitudes to heart. My fear of what people would say or think about me grew every day. Some days I would sit in my car looking up stories of people who’d been positively impacted by life insurance when I needed to gather the gumption to walk through another door.
If I could go back and sit with myself in the car, I would take my phone out of my hand, look myself in the eyes and say stop procrastinating. Get out of your feelings and get in there. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking yourself if the person you’re reaching out to has a need for what you’re selling. If you suspect the answer might be yes, then boom, there’s all the belief you need. Don’t overthink it. Don’t belabor the point. Just step out. And keep doing it until it becomes second nature.